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#11465452 - 03/09/16 08:27 AM Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas
Coach1310 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 5
Good day all. A MN Dad here who will be bringing the family to Rockport for a week starting on March 18th. My boys, 10 and 7 love to fish. Was curious if decent fishing can be had from shore, the jetty in Port Aransas, etc? We will not have gear with us, so can it be rented anywhere? I know I could book a guide, but that isn't really in the budget so any thoughts, help would be greatly appreciated. I've seen some videos of folks catching drum, redfish and sheepshead from the jetty, and all of those would be great. What we are after/catch makes no difference at all.

Thanks for any and all help.

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#11465570 - 03/09/16 09:08 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
South Florida transplant Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 09/05/14
Posts: 92
Loc: Fort Worth, TX
Try Island tackle. They are real friendly kid oriented and will have everything you need. http://islandtackleportaransas.com/

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#11465851 - 03/09/16 11:16 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Happy Birthday Neumie Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 3056
Loc: SA, Hallettsville, Rockport
A HUGE WARNING, firstly. You are catching the tail end of the Spring Break weekend. Rockport and Port Aransas will be covered up drunk college kids and other families. I would absolutely avoid Port Aransas and the ferry (3+ hours wait sometimes) until the following Monday. You could drive all the way around through Corpus Christi to North Padre Island, but the crowds won't be any better. As I said, I would avoid the island until Monday of your trip, but still expect so crowds. The grocery stores and restaurants will be jammed packed as well, so plan accordingly.

As far as tackle rental, I'm not familiar with any place, so you'll have to spend some time with Google. There are a couple of good tackle shops to visit that may be able to point you in the right direction. Island Tackle is a great place in Port Aransas. Rockport Tackletown is the premier tackle shop in Rockport. They'll be able to point you in the right direction for tackle rental, if available. May have to purchase cheap outfits at Walmart to get you through the week.

Fishing License: You'll need to purchase a Non-Resident All-Water Fishing license; you're boys will not need a license (wife will if she fishes, though). A one-day license is $16, but you can purchase additional, consecutive days at the same time. If you plan on fishing everyday you're down there you may be better of purchasing the year-long NR Saltwater license for $63. Make sure to pick up an Outdoor Annual and familiarize yourself with the daily bag and length limits for each species if you plan on retaining fish to cook or send back to Minnesota.

Fishing: There are a lot of places to access the water in Rockport all the way to Port Aransas without needing a boat or kayak. For wading in the bays live shrimp under an Alameda popping cork (I use a 2/0 Kahle hook) is strait forward and easy. It's been a long time since I bought live shrimp, but it's sold by the pint ($5-$6) or quart ($10-$12), and that price is fairly consistent at all bait shops. If you don't want to deal with live bait then get some 3" DOA Shrimp in Nite Glow or Gold Glitter and work them as live bait under the cork. Set the popping cork depth so that the shrimp stays just above the bottom/grass. If y'all want to try artificials (in addition to the aforementioned DOA shrimp) keep it simple with a Bone Super Spook Jr; softplastics in Pumpkinseed/Chartreuse and Plum/Chartreuse (brand doesn't really matter but Bass Assassin, Norton, H&H or Texas Tackle Factory are my favorites); 1/8 oz jigheads; and 1/4 or 1/2 oz Johnson Weedless Gold or Silver spoon. That's about $40 worth of artificials. If y'all have a pier at the place you're staying then the cheap Speck Rigs found at Walmart/HEB in White/White or Yellow/Yellow and the 3" DOA shrimp in Nite Glow are the most productive lures. If you don't have a pier and want to try night fishing then I recommend Goose Island State Park's pier. It'll cost you $5 entrance, but your boys will be free; gates close at 10pm. Also, at Texas state parks if you're fishing from a pier or along the shoreline within the state park boundaries you do not need to purchase a fishing license.

I don't do much jetty fishing, so hopefully someone with more experience will chime in. You'll obviously need heavier tackle than inshore fishing. Shrimp (dead or alive) on a Carolina (or fish finder rig)with a circle hook or under a cork will work.

Beaches: The Rockport Beach is situated on Aransas Bay and is very family friendly. It's $5 per vehicle/per day and will be crowded in the afternoons, though not as bad as Port Aransas. It doesn't really have waves, but it's a clean and safe place to spend the afternoon. The Port Aransas Beach requires a $12 permit that is good for a year (they do not offer a per day pass) and can be purchased at gas stations and many other places when you get on the island. There used to be a stretch along the beach which did not require a permit, but I'm not sure that's true anymore so play it safe and purchase the permit. As I mentioned earlier I would wait until Monday to visit to let the majority of the spring break crowd thin out.

Things to do: If the weather is bad for a day (likely) check out the Fulton Mansion ($6 for adults/$4 for your kids) and Texas Maritime Museum ($8/$3) there in Rockport. The Rockport Aquarium is great for kids and is free (toss a couple bucks in the donations box). There's The Big Tree (free) to check out as well, but that'll kill about 5-10 minutes. In Corpus Christi there's the Texas State Aquarium ($23/$17 though cheaper if purchased in advance online) and USS Lexington ($15/$10).

Just wanting to give you a heads up on costs of things you may not be aware of. Um, gas is around $1.50 in Texas, so a little cheaper than Minnesota.

If you want restaurant recommendations in Rockport (not too knowledgeable about Port A) and what not shoot me a PM and I'll fill you in.


Edited by Neumie (03/09/16 12:33 PM)
_________________________
"Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water." -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

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#11465918 - 03/09/16 11:40 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Neumie]
Coach1310 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 5
First off, thank you both for the replies so far. We don't really care what we catch. The kids are excited to catch any fish from the ocean. What are my best odds and easiest methods to get my kids a few fish? We probably won't be keeping anything either. When you talk about wading in bays, are odds good that we can catch something? We do a lot of bobber fishing here in MN, but also cast a retrieve. Whatever has the odds to be most successful we will make work.

I would say weather and success will determine how often we fish. My boys would be pro it everyday, but my daughter and wife might have something to say about that.

Thanks for any and all info. This has proven to be very helpful so far.

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#11465931 - 03/09/16 11:45 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Grinder55 Offline
Pro Angler

Registered: 08/21/13
Posts: 750
Loc: Rockport, Texas
Piers around Rockport have been catching drum, so the spring drum run is on.

Structure on wade locations have been picking up drum and trout.

I look for the redfish action to really pick up after the equinox on the 20th.

We also get a good flounder run in the spring at our wade fish locations and some bank fishing locations, so this is a good time of year to go fishin' !!!
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#11467070 - 03/09/16 07:14 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Lindsey Offline
Angler

Registered: 01/29/10
Posts: 318
Loc: Bedford, TX
Neumie and Grinder have really nailed it. You could search the internet for a long time and struggle to accumulate the kind of information that has been posted here by them.
_________________________
I'm not a chick.

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#11467621 - 03/09/16 11:15 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Happy Birthday Neumie Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 3056
Loc: SA, Hallettsville, Rockport
Originally Posted By: Coach1310
First off, thank you both for the replies so far. We don't really care what we catch. The kids are excited to catch any fish from the ocean. What are my best odds and easiest methods to get my kids a few fish? We probably won't be keeping anything either. When you talk about wading in bays, are odds good that we can catch something? We do a lot of bobber fishing here in MN, but also cast a retrieve. Whatever has the odds to be most successful we will make work.

I would say weather and success will determine how often we fish. My boys would be pro it everyday, but my daughter and wife might have something to say about that.

Thanks for any and all info. This has proven to be very helpful so far.

Best odds and easiest methods, in my opinion, would be pier fishing under the lights at night. Live shrimp (rigged either free lined with a small split shot, Carolina [fish finder], or under a cork), 3" DOA Nite Glow Shrimp (either tied straight to your line or under a popping cork), or speck rigs would be the route I would take.

During the day I would use live shrimp under a popping cork. A little bit of a hassle since you'd have to buy a Bait Bucket, but you'll catch something with live shrimp. If you don't want to wade (understandable) the pier at Goose Island SP, the Copano Causeway Pier, the small jetty between Rockport Harbor and Rockport Beach, or the Port Aransas Jetties would get my vote.

Right now the current water temps in the Rockport area are between 70 and 72 degrees, so wading shouldn't be too bad; heck it might feel quite balmy for y'all. Some good wading spots with firm, easy wading bottoms would be (use the Google Map link I provided in my first reply for reference, going north to south): Goose Island SP Pier, Howard Murph Memorial Park, Airport Road, Rockport Beach, East Shore, or Brown & Root Flats North/South. Really, any spot along 361 between Aransas Pass and the ferry crossing is decent, I just prefer those last two spots because of how the tide moves through those locations.

One thing I didn't think about which may make for a fun day is to take the Jetty Boat from Port Aransas across to the north jetty. A lot of out-of-towners don't know about it, much less out-of-staters, but it's something I would consider. The boat makes frequent trips throughout the day so you can stay as long as you like. The fishing at the north jetty is arguably better than the south jetty due to having less pressure. I would definitely make it a family trip over. The beach north of the jetty offers up some of the best beachcombing in the coastal bend. Those whom want to fish can fish the jetty or surf and those whom don't can look for shells, sand dollars, and other "treasures" to bring back home, something neither the Rockport or Port Aransas beaches can offer. There are no luxuries (potable water, bathrooms, etc) so you'll need to pack a cooler of drinks and food. I would also recommend bringing a beach umbrella to provide shade (in general, don't forget the sunscreen while you're down for your week either) or at the very least big brimmed hats. Also, the island is private property so you need to stay on the beach and not hike up into the dunes (plus there could be critters and snakes in the dunes).

Oh, main street Rockport has a lot of great shops, like art galleries and shell shops, that are worth an afternoon stroll. You know, gotta keep the misses happy. And the kids can find some fun tchotchkes.

In case you can't find gear to rent, and want to purchase cheap combos to use (who knows, maybe you could sell them to somebody to recoup some money before you leave) I would head to Walmart. For fishing the piers and bay fishing (or even jetty fishing for trout and sheepshead, I use my normal inshore gear for fishing jetties all the time for those species) I would look for a 7'0", medium power (if possible fast action) spinning rod with a 2000 series reel spooled with line in the 12-20lbs (I prefer 8-12lbs, but anything in that range is good). If you want to try and catch a big redfish or black drum at the jetty you'll what to step up the rod and reel to medium-heavy (almost heavy) power and a reel capable of holding 30-40 lbs line. If you fish the jetties be prepared to have your line cut on the sharp granite blocks and barnacles.

Since you fish I would go ahead and pack some hook outs, pliers, forceps, or whatever to bring with you since some saltwater critters have teeth. If you don't have a landing net here's how to I land fish by hand (remembering that all fish have spiny pectoral & dorsal fins):
  • Speckled Trout and Redfish I 'll grab them just behind the gills with my middle finger & thumb and then slowly rotate my wrist/hand to push down the dorsal fin.
  • Redfish (again), Black Drum and Sheepshead I'll come from underneath by their pelvic fins and place my thumb & middle finger on the bottom side of their gills, and then lift them out of the water.
  • Gafftopsail (which you are edible) and Hardheads (which Winter Texans think are edible) are saltwater catfish, so treat them as such.
  • Smaller "trash" fish (such as piggy perch, needle gar, lizard fish) and juvenile trout & reds I'll just grab the hook with my pliers, turn it over, and shake the fish off.
  • If you hook a stingray I'd just cut the line and let'em be. No point in messing with them if there's a chance of being stuck with their business end.
  • If you hook a shark while fishing the jetties I'm guessing your kids are going to want a picture. Just use a lot of caution (no matter the size) and remember sharks don't have bones so nearly every shark can bend their head all the way around and bite their tail.
  • If you catch a Stargazer grab the hook with pliers and shake the fish off. There's a spot on their head that can deliver a shock. Not painful really, but it'll certainly surprise you.


Edited by Neumie (03/09/16 11:35 PM)
_________________________
"Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water." -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

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#11467958 - 03/10/16 08:17 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Coach1310 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 5
Wow.... you folks in Texas are amazingly helpful. Thanks so much for the information. I will keep firing away with questions and will also be sure to post results here once we get down there. I am just hopeful my boys will catch something as they would be pumped. We fish a lot here in MN, but catching fish from the ocean seems way cooler to them!

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#11472739 - 03/12/16 07:23 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Beer Money Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 08/07/14
Posts: 2083
Loc: Collin County
The Fulton Pier may be a good place to take the kids in the Rockport area along with the Copano Causeway Pier. Both of those may have tackle rental also. I would suggest night under the lights for both of those. In the Port Aransas area, there is the Horace Caldwell Pier and Bob Hall Pier. I'm pretty sure that you can rent tackle at both of those places. Y'all have fun!

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#11473187 - 03/12/16 11:45 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Beer Money]
Monte Coon Offline
Coon's Bar & Grill

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 10556
Loc: FT WORTH TX
Coach1310 I hope you and your kids have a blast and catch a bunch of fish!!

To the guys that offered the great information thank you I'm headed down there this evening when I get off and you guys rock!!! Thank you for all the info hopefully a bass fisherman can go figure out the salt water stuff...
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#11474429 - 03/13/16 09:37 AM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Happy Birthday Neumie Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 3056
Loc: SA, Hallettsville, Rockport
LOL, I kind of forgot about using Berkley Gulp Shrimp, 3" in either New Penny or Glow. It's basically dead bait but rigged on a jighead can be fished like other softplastics or under a popping cork. The stuff has some nasty smelling juice it's packaged in, so be careful about sealing it or it'll leak.
_________________________
"Water is life's matter and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water." -Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

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#11474946 - 03/13/16 04:10 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
D.D.R. Offline
TFF Team Angler

Registered: 03/27/10
Posts: 3008
Loc: Lubbock
If all else fails, the kids can catch piggy perch by the hundreds!
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#11475636 - 03/13/16 10:16 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
OldFrog Offline
TFF Guru

Registered: 02/16/06
Posts: 48345
Loc: Probably not where you think
I love Port A, but I wouldnt get anywhere near it during spring break. Caught the tail end of it at Galveston one year. Never again...... unless you actually ENJOY sitting in traffic for 2 hours.
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Now, Donald...please pick John Bolton for your running mate.

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#11489853 - 03/20/16 08:07 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
Coach1310 Offline
Green Horn

Registered: 03/08/16
Posts: 5
Good day all. We've been here a few days. We've fished two evenings after dark at the Goose Island pier and caught a few small speckled trout. It seems that live bait is out performing speck rigs or plastics like DOA shrimp. Seems like later is better... Meaning as late as you can. Seems the bite always is picking up after 11 when I'm packing up the kids. Fished some shorelines in key allegro and snagged one small sheepshead..... Hard to keep from getting nibbled off with the shrimp. Hopefully going to try some wade fishing later this week or even some jetty fishing.

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#11491512 - 03/21/16 02:49 PM Re: Shore Options-Rockport/Port Aransas [Re: Coach1310]
dbraune Offline
Extreme Angler

Registered: 05/29/07
Posts: 2307
Loc: arlington,tx
We just left there. We were catching so many gaftop about 3/4 mile passed bob hall pier out of the surf on squid that it was getting boring. Nothing huge but kept my 6yr old happy
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